Given the remote location of the Delta Waterfowl Wetlands and Research Station, master’s and PhD students were fortunate to have an amazing resource center within a few footsteps.
The David Winton Bell Memorial Library, which held an extensive collection of published waterfowl research papers, biology books and scientific journals, overlooked the Station’s pond right next door to Kirchhoffer Lodge. Students and staff relied on Delta’s marsh-side library materials for guidance, much like they did at the universities where they studied during the rest of the year.
Dr. Scott Petrie, now Delta’s chief executive officer, served as a research assistant at the Station in the summers of 1986 and 1987.
“Obviously, there was no Internet at that time, so the library held critical resources for students working on papers and research projects,” he said. “Delta Waterfowl had top undergraduate, master’s and PhD students doing field work at the Marsh, and the Station had the library as a great resource to help students develop and hone their research projects.”
Delta’s library is named for David Winton Bell, the son of Charles H. and Lucy Winton Bell, and grandson of James Ford Bell. Like many members of the family, David Winton Bell enjoyed hunting ducks at the Delta Marsh.
A Minnesota native, he graduated in 1954 from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Like most young men of his generation, David Winton Bell was called upon to serve in the military. He enlisted in the U.S. Marines. Tragically in 1955, a flight he was aboard disappeared over the Sea of Japan.
In his honor, the family established the David Winton Bell Foundation in 1957. The Foundation supports the arts and science, and generously funded Delta Waterfowl’s library for decades.
Much of the library’s collection was relocated ahead of the Great Flood of 2011, which rendered many of Delta Station’s building unusable when the water finally receded months later. Most of the books and important research documents of the David Winton Bell Library are currently housed at The Delta Waterfowl Center in Turkey Point, Ontario.
— Paul Wait